The holiday season is fast approaching, and children and parents everywhere are wondering—what will Halloween look like this year? As a holiday that involves wandering the neighborhood, knocking on as many doors as possible, and reaching into communal bowls to grab fistfuls of candy, it should go without saying that changes will be necessary this year.

Rest assured that Dr. David Priest, a top health expert on COVID-19, says there’s no need to cancel Halloween just yet. Here are some of his thoughts on celebrating this beloved holiday, whether you have a young trick-or-treater in the family or you’re planning to hand out goodies from home.

Is it Safe to Trick-or-Treat this Year?

Yes—as long as you follow the rules we are all growing accustomed to these days. Here’s how to stay safe:

  • Avoid trick-or-treating in large groups. Go with no more than three or four friends, and gather outside instead of inside whenever possible.
  • While walking down the street, keep at least six feet between each person to adhere to social distancing guidelines.
  • Make sure everyone wears a mask—not a plastic Halloween mask with a big breathing hole, but a fabric face-covering meant to slow the spread of COVID-19. Get creative and incorporate the mask into your costume with fun patterns or decorations. This is definitely a good year to dress up as a doctor, nurse, ninja, or bandit.
  • Consider wearing gloves, but don’t go overboard trying to incorporate them into your costume.
  • Focus more on handwashing than wiping down doorbells and doorknobs.
  • There’s no need to wipe down candy before you eat it. As long as the pieces are individually wrapped, there’s not much concern.

Tricks for Handing out Candy

Groups of excited trick-or-treaters normally swarm your front door, vying for their fair share of candy, but COVID-19 calls for a little creativity. Here are some ideas:

  • Place candy in individual plastic bags on a table in your yard, and ask trick-or-treaters to pick up one bag per person as they walk by.
  • Set up a PVC-pipe dispensing system that delivers candy from a distance so kids don’t congregate by the door.
  • Don’t worry about providing sanitation stations for trick-or-treaters. As long as individuals are masked, socially distanced, and wash their hands once they get home, stations like this are unnecessary.

Other Fall Traditions

Corn mazes, pumpkin patches, hayrides, and other outdoor fall activities are generally safe to attend. Just avoid standing too close to other people at ticket booths and elsewhere. Steer clear of enclosed haunted houses, unless the facility strictly limits the number of people inside at a time.

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